Ní Riada helps communities put LEADER concerns directly to Commissioner

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada with Cllr. Toireasa Ferris, John Loughrey who manages LEADER for North, East and West Kerry Development (NEWKD) and members of the NEWKD board.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada is giving community groups the opportunity to directly bring their concerns about changes to the LEADER funding programme directly to those behind them.

The Ireland South MEP will be bringing a delegation of representatives from across the constituency’s 10 counties to Europe where they will meet the Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Ms Ní Riada revealed plans for the delegation during a meeting with the North, East and West Kerry Development board in Tralee on Monday.

“The concerns, anger and frustration that I saw in Tralee are the same ones I have seen in community groups right around the country,” she said.

“The changes to LEADER are not only frustrating the attempts of community groups to get access to the much needed funding, but the long, complicated process itself is putting people off even applying.

“The Commissioner has serious questions to answer about the changes that were made to the programme and who better to ask them then representatives from the communities his actions are denying infrastructure, facilities, investment and funding to?

“Mr. Hogan needs to be made aware that his role in Europe is to represent the best interests of rural communities, not to act as the representative of a Fine Gael government ideologically wed to austerity.”